Biggest grid of the year so far to take on Silverstone GP this weekend

Biggest grid of the year so far to take on Silverstone GP this weekend

A boosted 18-car grid will take on the challenges of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit this weekend (8-9 June), as the BRDC British F3 Championship battle resumes at the home of the British Grand Prix.

The additions of Andreas Estner (Lanan) and Nicolas Varrone (Hillspeed) means the biggest BRDC British F3 grid of the year will compete in the trio of races at the circuit. 

Five winners from the six races held so far at Oulton Park and Snetterton would suggest that this year’s title battle is wide open, but it’s Clement Novalak who leads the way at quarter distance with a 37-point margin over Fortec’s Johnathan Hoggard.

Novalak was the winner of the first race of the season at Oulton Park, and consistent results since then including three second places mean he’s yet to finish outside the top six, allowing him to build a decent early lead. 

Nearest challenger Hoggard has won more races than anyone else with triumphs at both circuits visited so far, but he saw his charge blunted slightly in the final race at Snetterton when he was involved in a first lap incident when ideally placed to make inroads into Novalak’s advantage. 

Chris Dittmann Racing’s Ayrton Simmons is another looking to fight his way back into the reckoning. Strong results so far including two podiums would indicate that a first British F3 win isn’t far away, and he’d be much closer to the top two had it not been for misfortune in race two at Oulton Park. 

Meanwhile Double R’s Hampus Ericsson heads to Silverstone on the back of an exceptional weekend at Snetterton that saw him outscore every driver bar Novalak, and claim his first single seater race win in the process. Those results moved him up to fourth in the standings, having been outside the top 10 heading into the weekend. 

Another podium for Carlin’s Kaylen Frederick means he sits in fifth place heading to Silverstone, with the American, a race winner at Oulton Park, looking to make further inroads this weekend, likewise with compatriot Neil Verhagen, who boasts a brace of podium finishes so far for Double R Racing. 

Fortec’s Manuel Maldonado has put his British F3 experience to good use so far – the Venezuelan is the only driver other than Novalak to have finished every race inside the top 10 this year, and has a podium to his name from Oulton Park. 

Belgian Ulysse De Pauw had a more difficult trio of races for Douglas Motorsport at Snetterton compared to his Cheshire showing, so expect more from him this weekend, while teammate Kiern Jewiss scored his first British F3 podium in race one at Snetterton, only to suffer misfortune in the next two contests. He’ll be keen to make up ground this weekend.  

Malaysian Nazim Azman has enjoyed a positive start to his British F3 career, taking four top-10 finishes for Chris Dittmann Racing including a fifth and sixth at Snetterton. He’s equal on points with Douglas Motorsport’s Benjamin Pedersen, who claimed his first podium result with second place in race two at Snetterton. 

Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol lies 12th in the early standings, but take that position with a pinch of salt as his speed has gone unrewarded so far. He’ll be a podium contender on a circuit he knows well. 

Josh Mason continues to show strong progress in his second season with Lanan Racing, and heads to the venue where he claimed a win in unique circumstances last year confident of more top-10 finishes. 

Lucas Petersson claimed his first win of his British F3 career for Carlin in race two at Snetterton, and the Super Swede will aim to climb the table at Silverstone, as will Double R’s Pavan Ravishankar, who claimed his maiden British F3 victory at Silverstone last year in dominant fashion. 

Kris Wright meanwhile has shown good progress for Fortec Motorsports – the Daytona 24 Hour podium finisher claimed his first British F3 top-10 finish last time out. 

Joining the grid this weekend are Argentinian Nicolàs Varrone and German Andreas Estner. Varrone has teamed up with Hillspeed, and is the reigning V de V Challenge Monoplace champion and also counts Formula Renault experience. He’ll sample the British F3 car for the first time in testing, likewise with Estner, who has joined the Lanan Racing squad. Estner is currently competing in the new FIA F3 category, but will race at Silverstone and then at Spa in British F3 to learn the circuits in a competitive environment. 

Three races this weekend will entertain in ‘Motorsport Valley’, with qualifying taking place at 10.40 on Saturday morning and deciding the grids for races one and three, with the first contest scheduled for 15.00. 

Sunday’s action starts with the always-dramatic reverse grid race two which commences at 11.10 before the final event of the weekend at 15.55. Both Sunday races will again be streamed live online via the British F3 website and official Facebook page. 

Pre-event driver quotes:

Pavan Ravishankar

“At this point it’s been very tricky and I’ve got to do a lot of homework to do ahead of Silverstone to come back stronger. 

“The next few tracks coming up are some great tracks. Silverstone, Donington and Spa are venues I’ve done well at last year and I’m really looking forward to those rounds to kick start my year.”

Lucas Petersson
“We’ve got the pace now and I’m usually OK at Silverstone, we’ve done lots of testing there so I think we have clear skies ahead and we will see what happens.

“At the start of the season, I was towards the back of the mid-pack but now I’m tussling for the higher positions and we’ve shown what we can do as a team. So I just need to get a good qualifying and from there it should be a lot easier. 

“I like Silverstone, it’s a great venue it’s a Formula One track so there’s a lot of great facilities there so it should be good. It’s nice and flat like Snetterton was, I struggled at Oulton a bit because it’s up and down. It’s high speed, flat and there will be a lot of good overtaking opportunities too.”

Nicolas Varrone
“I am very happy for this opportunity. We will be travelling to Silverstone on Thursday where we are going to have a full day of testing, using new tyres to adapt to the car, we hope to do a good job with a car which has more aerodynamics than I have been used to.”

Andreas Estner
“I’m racing at Silverstone and Spa because I want to get as much experience of the tracks as I can before I race there in FIA F3. However I only wanted to learn the tracks in a competitive environment, and BRDC British F3 is the ideal championship for me to do that, because just a few tenths can be the difference between the back of the grid and the podium. I think I will learn a lot with Lanan Racing, they have a great track record with drivers like George Russell, and I can’t wait to get started.”

BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race six of 24:
1. Clement Novalak, Carlin, 158pts
2. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 121pts
3. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 99pts
4. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, 98pts
5. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 95pts
6. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, 85pts
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 83pts
8. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 76pts
9. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, 75pts
10. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, 68pts

Click here for full standings

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